This pattern was named after the legendary holy Dan Gun, who is said to have founded Korea in 2334 BC.Like most oriental countries, Korea has a legend about the origins of their people. Korea’s legend is about their descent from Dan Gun and this is still taught today to Korean school children. The legend itself goes something like this…When heaven and earth were one and when animals could speak like humans, the God Hwanin sent his son Hwang-Ung to the East to build a new country (Hwang-Ung settled in what is now called North Korea, at the highest point on the peninsula), this was in the 25th reign of the Yao Emperor in China (approximately 2333 B.C.).
One day a tiger and a bear appeared in front of Hwang-Ung and asked that they be made into human form. After great thought Hwang-Ung informed the animals that their wish could be granted, but it would be difficult and take much patience. The animals agreed that they would do whatever it took to become human.
Hwang-Ung gave the tiger and the bear 20 garlic cloves and some mugworts. They were told to eat them, stay in a cave and pray earnestly for 100 days.
After 20 days the tiger became hungry and could no longer continue, so he left the cave in search of food. But when the 100 days were almost at an end, the bear began to lose its fur and its rear feet began to change, until at the end of the 100th day the bear had fully transformed into a beautiful woman. She became known as Ung-Yo, which means “the girl incarnated from a bear”.
Hwang-Ung then married Ung-Yo, and she gave birth to a son, who was named Dan-Gun. This child gave rise to the first Korean Dynasty.
Dan Gun is said to have built the first altar on Kang-Wha Island in 2265 B.C. This altar today is atop the island’s highest peak, Muni-San, and is known as Dan-Gun’s Altar. Dan-Gun lived with his wife, Pi So-Ap, and his sons, who are said to have built the fortress of Sam- Nang at Chung-Dung Island.
In 1122 the uncle of the Shang King of China, Ki-Ja, escaped the overthrow Shang Dynasty and migrated to Korea with 5000 followers. According to the legend, after reigning for 1,211 years, Dan-Gun fled from the Ki-Ja forces to the town of Mun-Wha, resumed his spirit form, and disappeared from the earth. The shrine to the “Trinity” in Mun-Wha today contains his 410-foot circumference “grave.” The Ki-Ja assumed the rule of Korea from 1122 B.C. to 193 B.C., teaching the people Chinese culture in the form of letters, reading, writing, medicine, and art.
The date October 3rd is celebrated in Korea as a national holiday, commemorating the founding father, Dan Gun. In 1909, the legend of Dan-Gun increased in popularity in the form of the Tae-Jong-Gyo, or Great Dan-Gun Teaching. As a spiritual figure, Dan-Gun is still worshipped today as the first ancestor of the Korean people, and remains in the people’s minds the firm spiritual root of the Korean nation.